26th January 2021

Loss and Grief

Living through a global pandemic has affected all of us, it has highlighted that life can be fragile, precarious, and impermanent. We all have our individual stories of loss, be this the death of a loved one or a living loss of a relationship, circumstance or situation.  Whenever something we thought to be constant changes, we can feel shocked and devasted losing someone or something can catapult us back and forth, from the past where we have our memories to the future where we struggle with the absence of that person or situation. Grief responses are instinctive in all of us, from searching, longing, denial, anger, bargaining, and blame. These are all means of self-protection and are a way to avoid pain and sadness. To understand the grieving process, I believe it is important to be aware of our attachment style as they affect our ability to adjust, support, normalize and accept our emotional reactions to any kind of loss or change. Often people feel self-indulgent or guilty talking about their feelings of loss, sadness, and helplessness. They do not want to burden loved ones or friends for fear of causing them further worry and pain. It is important and helpful to identify with the reality of the loss. Being able to express your feelings and talk about your experience is an important part of the grieving process, coming to terms both intellectually and emotionally with the loss. Anything that allows you to deny, avoid, distract, or suppress the feelings […]
8th November 2020

Understanding our mind

The ‘human mind’ can be characterised by two parts. The top part or outer layer is our conscious mind, responsible for the day to day decision-making processes. It processes reason, logic, analysis, language, mathematics, short term memory, intelligence and our Ego. The conscious mind likes routine and is a creature of habit. It may only make up 5% of our mind, but it is ‘supposedly in charge’! In contrast, our subconscious or unconscious mind is the main hidden part and is responsible for our emotions. It is in control of 95% of our mind, constantly awake and alert, it records everything we do and feel. Its purpose is to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and keep us safe, it always has a positive intention to protect and help us even if the results are harmful. The subconscious mind works with feelings, images and metaphors, it is concerned with memories, creativity, imagination, recognition and our dreams. It is built on habituation and takes everything literally, learning through repetition and the intensity of our emotions. It has a strong reactive survival mechanism, that overrides everything else regardless of logic, reasoning or outside circumstances and takes the course of least resistance, so be careful what you ask it to do. If we don’t give it useful instructions then it takes them from elsewhere., advertising, peer pressure, parental and cultural programming, as well as suggestion. The subconscious mind doesn’t process negatives. Negativity is a conscious mind concept. So, when someone says, or you say, “Don’t […]
28th August 2020

Overcoming Fear

It is said that man’s greatest enemy is fear. Fear is behind many of our failures, ill-health, poor communication and moments in which we feel like we have hit a wall. We are all afraid of the past, the future, old age, illness, insanity and death. We can become paralysed by fear when we start believing in our thoughts. Most of our fears have no reality, they are simply a conglomeration of unhelpful thoughts and accumulated beliefs.  Ralph Waldo Emerson – the famous philosopher said: “Do the thing you are afraid to do and the death of fear is certain.” Normal and abnormal fear, We are born with only two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises, these are given to us as a means of self -preservation.  All other fear is accumulated, from parents, caregivers, teachers and anyone who has influenced our early years. Normal fear is good as it alerts us to danger and gets us out of harm’s way. Abnormal fear takes place when we let our imagination run riot, things we fear do not exist in reality, so do not indulge in your fears otherwise, you will succumb to them. Constant fearful thoughts, morbid anxious imagery and fearful suggestions result in, obsessions, complexes,  neurosis,  panic and terror. These feelings can subsequently lead us to make mistakes and bad decisions. At a deep level, our fear is a desire for safety and security. A way to avoid the negative consequences of irrational fear […]
19th July 2020

Pips top Tips for managing your emotional states.

We all get pulled out of shape, experience disruptions and disturbances from our normal routine and face setbacks/challenges from time to time. When we are in the midst of a period of upset or pain, or we have become unbalanced and distressed we typically find ourselves in fight or flight mode. At this point, we are not thinking about our actions but are instead feeling and reacting. When this happens It’s important to disengage and disassociate from the experience, so feelings of desperation are not driving you. Our mind, body and brain work together, learning how to stay calm in the chaos and stop life circumstances from determining your state of mind is such a vital life skill, with that said it is a skill that needs to be practised. Here are some of my top tips on how to stay calm when you find yourself in the sea of chaos: 1. Check if you are present and fully aware of your body. Ask yourself what can you see, hear, feel, smell and taste. This will help you become aware of all your senses. Check yourself, are you in your head worrying about the future, feeling anxious occupying only your headspace rehearsing ‘what if’ outcomes? Stop free-floating on automatic-pilot and come back to your here and now by changing your physiology. Stand up if you’re sitting down and stretch your arms up and out, move your eyes upwards and disassociate from the future worry by moving the concern as far […]
19th May 2020

Social Distanced & Remote Sessions

Following last week’s government guidance, to return to work if it is safe to do so, I am now seeing clients in a social distancing capacity. I will be running sessions in my garden – weather dependent of course. I am also offering online sessions via Zoom or WhatsApp. If you would to book a session, or need any support please just let me know. Take care and stay well Pip x
10th May 2020

Imprints, embedded memories and our belief systems

Imprints or embedded memories make up our belief system, which affects the way we see ourselves, others and the world. When something impactful happens to us it leaves an impression on us and our central nervous system. We then create a picture of it and keep it stored internally. Imprints are formed in childhood, but we continue accumulating them throughout life, the memory is made up of our senses: pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells. How we interpret them is dependent on our biology, environment, conditioning and experiences. Imprints can make us believe things are absolute truths, even when they are not true. They can also make us act illogically, give us irrational fears and phobias because they are often not based on our current reality. Imagine two people walking down a street together at night. Both have the same risk of danger. Yet one of them feels safe because, as a child, was given a  lot of reassurance and was imprinted with a sense of confidence and security. The other doesn’t feel safe because, as a child, was not given a feeling of protection or safety, so was imprinted with a sense that life is dangerous. Maybe they were safe, or maybe they were in danger, but both are operating from the influence of their imprints. Imprints will always be with us, and these early memories influence our perception of life and impact our current reality.  The memories we hold on to are clues to our imprints. Maybe you […]
19th April 2020

Dreams in uncertain times

Why COVID 19 might be affecting our sleep pattern. The world has been turned upside down from the coronavirus pandemic, and people everywhere are experiencing disruptions to sleep. For some people, this can include more trouble sleeping, less deep/comfortable sleep and some of us are having unsettling dreams out of our normal sleeping patterns. People have begun calling these “pandemic dreams.” As the concept of dreaming is so complex, scientific research behind the reasons why we have the dreams we do is still inconclusive. However, experts believe that our dreams are a way that our brain log memories and information gathered from that day. Research also suggests that negative experiences in our lives lead us to have more negative dreams or, we are more likely to interpret our dreams negatively. With so many of us listening or watching the news to get updates on the spread of the virus before we go to bed we are inadvertently setting ourselves up for a” pandemic dream”. According to research, exposure to unsettling news will affect our sleep and our dreams. This is because of our amygdala (the part of your brain which controls and regulates fight-or-flight responses), is active in sleep. When our brain perceives that our life is under threat or a perceived what-if threat, our fight-or-flight response gets triggered resulting in the production of stress hormones like noradrenaline, which keep us hyper-aroused and hypervigilant even when we are asleep. When stress disrupts our sleep patterns we spend more time in […]
7th April 2020

The process of learning Acceptance

  The first time the term  “acceptance” was really brought to my attention was in personal therapy 10 years ago.  We were discussing my illness and recent diagnosis, my therapist suggested I “accept” my illness.  I remember rejecting her suggestion and becoming resistant and defensive. My critical inner voice was shouting out “No I won’t”. I think when we are initially shocked by terrible news we think that not accepting it will mean it is not happening, but we all know that life does not work like this. I have since learnt that wanting to change something that is out of my control was causing me more pain and suffering than accepting it for what it is.  I needed to learn how to adapt. Acceptance does not mean that you like something or choose something you do not want to, but by resisting and rejecting things we create more pain and suffering. It doesn’t mean we have to endorse our anxiety, depression, illness, chronic pain or loss rather when you are not able to change the situation, allow it space to be there, give yourself permission to feel the experience without creating unhealthy thoughts and emotions around it. The pain will still be there, but some of the sufferings will be alleviated. Acceptance is a process, that has to be practised, it requires time and effort and can seem impossible, daunting and overwhelming. We don’t wake up one day and suddenly choose to accept our emotional and physical pain, our […]
22nd March 2020

Coping in the current COVID-19 crisis

  It is no secret that stress plays a significant role in and can consequently have profound impacts on both our physical and psychological health. We face an unprecedented situation, which is full of uncertainty and ‘what ifs’. Therefore, it is difficult as we face our own and global anxieties surrounding COVID-19. When external distractions are slowly being removed and there is such exposure of this virus on the news it is difficult for our fears to not escalate! So what can we do to help alleviate our anxiety? Focused breathing exercises can really help. This can be as simple as breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth deeply when anxious feelings cloud your thoughts. The app ‘Headspace’ is fantastic for focused breathing activities. Visualisation techniques can also be of merit. Visualise doing a body scan – start with your head, face, shoulders, chest, arms, back, legs and down to your feet. This helps to centre you and take your attention off your thought process. There are visual scanner apps also available for download. If you are able to get out into the fresh air and walk, do so regularly, I would recommend at least once daily. If you find your thought pattern is unhealthy to distract yourself, notice three things around you, the shape, colour, size and texture. Observe it and be curious about it. Try to establish as much of a structured routine as possible. The closer it is to your ‘normal working routine’ the […]